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Every person working in the crypto sector in the United States has known for years that greater regulation is on the way. However, during the last year, that inevitability has become increasingly apparent and overt.
Gary Gensler was sworn in as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission in April 2021 and immediately began making comments that alarmed crypto advocates; his SEC approved a Bitcoin futures ETF in October but has steadfastly refused to allow any spot ETF; and President Joe Biden issued an executive order on crypto last month that amounted to a call to action for multiple agencies to get on the same page for regulating crypto.
"There are a number of folks in the crypto industry who don't want regulation at all" says Caitlin Long, a Wall Street banking veteran turned crypto company entrepreneur.
It’s coming whether they like it or not. Long claimed on the current edition of Decrypt’s gm podcast that the new regulatory requirements will cause the crypto sector to “divide into three sides.” The three camps, as stated by Long, are as follows:
1st – “The camp that doesn’t want any regulation at all, is very committed to DeFi, and is particularly interested in voluntary associations and voluntary means of resolving issues, with no middlemen. The ‘code is speech’ group is that. And they are surely going to make progress; in fact, they have already done so. And, just as you can’t ban Bitcoin, I don’t think you can outlaw those kinds of structures.”
2nd – “Those who wish to be regulated in order to gain access to large-value marketplaces in the mainstream.”
3rd “There’s a tiny group of us, including Custodia, who have been attempting to achieve that for almost two years and have, in a sense, gotten the Heisman out of the regulatory process.”
Custodia Bank (previously Avanti Financial), Long’s company, seeks to provide banking services to crypto startups that have been turned down by the big banks. The first faction, she thinks, will “remain niche,” referring to those who want no crypto regulation at all (a pipe dream at this moment).
Many Wall Street traders and hedge fund titans have changed their tune on crypto during the pandemic, now openly devoting a tiny percentage of their portfolio to Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Many of them want tighter regulation so that crypto investments are secure and ordinary retail investors may participate—though the same could be said for a Bitcoin spot ETF, which the SEC has refused to approve.
Long and others in the third group, which includes people who have tried to work with authorities while creating crypto firms, have had different degrees of success. The majority of centralized companies, like as Coinbase, have complied with federal mandates, frequently to the chagrin of anti-regulation crypto zealots.
Custodia intends to close the gap between the scale of the total business ($2.15 trillion in market cap as of Sunday) and the deposit capacity accessible to crypto companies from regulated banks, which Long estimates to be $80 billion.
“It’s really lopsided,” she stated. “We went through a de-banking wave—it seems like every four years you go through a de-banking wave—and we’re going through it again, I’m hearing anecdotes. And in fact, if you take the federal bank regulators at their word, we’ve seen speeches from two of the three federal banking agencies talking about cracking down on the so-called bank-as-a-service or rent-a-charter arrangements. And I’m hearing through the grapevine that that’s exactly what’s happening. And so I think there’s another wave of de-banking happening in our industry, and Custodia can’t get opened fast enough.”